Donald Trump’s own attorney testifies against him to Jack Smith’s grand jury

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Here’s the thing about a grand jury: the sole purpose is to determine whether enough evidence exists to criminally indict someone and put them in front of a trial jury. So the entire presentation to a grand jury is put on by the prosecution, consisting solely of witnesses against the criminal target. There is no defense counsel involved, and there are no witnesses for the defense. That’s just how the process works.

Tonight, multiple major news outlets including Bloomberg and CNN are reporting that Donald Trump’s criminal defense attorney Evan Corcoran spent several hours testifying to Jack Smith’s grand jury last month. Since there is no defense during a grand jury hearing, this means by definition that Corcoran was testifying against Trump. And that is nothing short of remarkable.

We’re still waiting for more context about why Corcoran was testifying against Trump at all. By default, attorney client privilege would block such a thing from happening. But for months we’ve seen media reports about how the DOJ has tried to break through that by accusing Trump’s attorneys of having criminally conspired with him, with regard to the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. So the fact that Corcoran testified to the grand jury suggests that the DOJ has indeed convinced the courts that attorney client privilege is out the window in at least some aspects of the case.

CNN is now reporting that Corcoran did decline to answer “some” of the questions on the grounds of attorney client privilege. But as we’ve seen time and again, when a witness pleads the Fifth in response to every question, that testimony goes by very quickly. The fact that Corcoran’s testimony lasted for several hours means that he must have given useful and substantive answers to at least a decent percentage of the questions he was asked.

It’s also unclear why someone is just now leaking to the media that Corcoran testified against Trump last month. If Corcoran was reluctant witness and wanted to leak this to give Trump a heads up, wouldn’t he have done so immediately after testifying, instead of waiting a month? Another possibility is that Jack Smith and the DOJ are strategically leaking this because they now want Trump’s other lawyers to know that Corcoran has given them all up, so that Trump’s other lawyers will also give Trump up.

In any case, this still leaves us with more questions than answers for now. But one thing is becoming very clear over the past few days. Jack Smith and the DOJ have had a whole lot going on behind the scenes over the past few months, and now a lot of it is suddenly leaking out. There was the Mike Pence subpoena leak, now there’s this leak.

It’s almost tempting to conclude that Smith is now putting all this out there because he really is in the endgame stage, and he’s looking to light a fire under those who will quickly have to decide whether to jump in at the last minute and cooperate before indictments come down. We still don’t fully know what’s going on here – but there’s a whole lot of it going on.

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